Still Life in Tone Using Colour

Still Life in Tone Using Colour

I decided for this exercise I wasn’t going to use a natural still life. As it is an exercise to demonstrate tone through colour I thought it would be an interesting concept to use glass marbles.

Using my day lamp I positioned it in order to get the splashes of reflective colour across the white surface.

After trying a few different mediums in my sketchbook I decided to use pastel pencils. I had attempted soft pastels before and really struggled to control them, however I find them much easier to control in pencil form so had decided to use them for my marble still life.

I first attempted to do the whole still life composition, but I felt overwhelmed with the amount of marbles and I got too caught up on fixing each marble that I was not sticking to the 3 colours tone exercise that I was supposed to do. As you can see from the image about I have overworked the pastels and nothing seemed very clear. So I decided to start again.

I then cropped my still life. Due to the peculiar position of the day lamp, and splashes of reflective colour I had decided to recreated the still life from a photo so cropping the image was much easier than if drawing from real life.

Due to the challenge of the diversity of all the colours reflected from the marbles I concluded that I used the 3 tonal challenge for each marble.

A3 drawing paper. Material: chalk pastel pencils

For the majority of the drawing I manages to keep to the 3 colours, however I found this difficult for the front marble as all the other colours reflected though it which and as a result it looks a little murky.

At this point I considered that my work was finished but I remembered my tutors feedback from the first assignment explaining to have more confidence in my mark making. Looking at the above image I was not happy. The colours seemed a little dull and the textures too scratchy so I decided to work with more confidence to fix this.

I was much happier with the above picture. It felt more complete. I am still a little unsure of chalk pastels as a medium that I will use often however I did enjoy using the Faber Castell Pastel Pencils and will consider using them in the future.

Looking back over the last two exercises I realised I struggled quite a bit with the limitations of either using just lines or tones to create a drawing. I believe the dual toning of the line drawing worked well and I feel that reducing the amount of marbles in my still life were my favourite aspects of each piece. I like that some of the marbles go off the page and I decided to do this still life with the paper in the portrait position to as to the dynamic of the cropped image.

I struggled to get a huge sense of depth in my line drawing. Even after I had finished I felt it was a little two dimensional and would look too overworked easily. With this tone piece getting a sense of depth was a little easier although I created more challenges for myself by choosing marbles and having the light reflect all the off each other.

I limited myself in both exercises to a smaller colour pallet range. I found in the line drawing this was very confining with the amount of work I could do without looking too smudged. When I did use colour for the line drawing it seemed disjointed and not very well laid out but reducing the colour more to two colours helped with the simplicity of the lines and the overall drawing. I felt I had more freedom on my tone exercise. I am much happier with this, I discovered that enjoy expressing shape and diversity through tone that through lines. Lines can be limiting whereas tone seems to give the drawing more substance.